Yankees' Brett Gardner: Likely to open season in center

Gardner is expected to serve as the Yankees' everyday center fielder to begin the season with Aaron Hicks (back) ruled out for Opening Day, Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News reports.

Gardner had been battling Clint Frazier for the top gig in left field, but the injury to Hicks should afford the 35-year-old some more job security, at least for the first handful of games. Frazier is still expected to break camp with the big club as a fourth outfielder, with Giancarlo Stanton likely being plugged in as the primary left fielder while the Yankees rotate a number of players at designated hitter. Hicks' absence will also create a vacancy at the top of the order that Gardner will likely be asked to fill, which should help prop up the latter's run-scoring and baserunning opportunities early on.

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